When should you hire a "Designer" for your church website?
I know what it's like to be on a budget as a church. I was a youth pastor for ten years in two churches that couldn't afford to pay for a web designer. We built our own site. Luckily back then it was OK to have a table based layout and use inline styling. But now the world of the web has changed. It's not the same world wide web that "Al Gore" created. There are a lot of reasons that you should hire a designer/developer to code a website for you: Your website is difficult to update. The high school student that originally built it for you went off to college. The terms MySQL, HTML, CSS and PHP are foreign to you. You want something that looks like it was built by a professional.
When "not" to hire a web designer:
- You don't need a web designer if all you want is a blog. Use Wordpress or Blogger for that. They are both excellent tools that will serve you well for that purpose.
- You don't need to hire a web designer if you have people in your church that can design it for you. Just make sure that you look at their previous work before you commit to having them design something for you. It's harder to change your mind after they have started building the site than to make a well educated decision about whether you want them to in the first place. On a side note: Pay them. Even if it's only $100... most web designers make $25-$250/hr to build websites. Be grateful if they are doing it for free.
- You don't need a web designer if you don't care about showing up on search engines like Google and Yahoo. Most services that you can pay a subscription for don't give you a lot of options (if any) about the meta data that you can enter about your site.
When to hire a web designer:
- When you want to show up in search engines.
- When you want a custom look and feel to your site.
- When you want dynamic content for your site.
- When your high schooler leaves you with a site that you can't update.
- When you want more than what the cookie cutter web services have to offer.
The truth is that most churches really should hire this out to a company or a freelance designer. If you can't then look into services like wordpress which will allow you to export to a CMS like Drupal if you need to in the future.